Too busy to blog? Try tumbling instead
I was telling someone the other day about how I currently post to three blogs (this one, a personal blog, and a technical blog for the Ruby on Rails application framework). I got the response I usually get–I just don’t have the time to do that.
I understand. I make the time for myself because I think blogging is important to me for five reasons:
- It helps get my name out there, about topics I theoretically know a little bit about. My name is surprisingly common, but thanks to my blogging habits I come up at the top, or at least near the top, when someone searches my name.
- It lets me give back to a community in a meaningful way. I don’t know everything there is to know about Ruby on Rails, but I certainly remember what it was like to be in a middle area in my expertise–seasoned enough to not need the beginners’ tutorials, not advanced enough for the tough stuff. So I write for people in that middle ground with the hopes that people can learn from my own work, rather than having to reinvent wheels. I’m a much better writer than I am a coder or public speaker, so blogging is a good medium for my contributions to the Rails community.
- It helps me learn. Teachers who use The Paraphrasing Strategy and other reading strategies from the Center for Research on Learning know that being able to put something in your own words is one important step toward understanding. When I blog about something–whether it’s how to add a useful function to your web application or ways I think the iPad will change education–it gives me the opportunity to read up on a topic, think about it, and report on it in my own words.
- It gives me a bigger audience. I tell people that I’m writing for an audience of one when I write. For my personal blog, it’s me. For my Rails blog, it’s me two years ago. For the Stratepedia Blog, it’s Don Deshler (my boss; Director of the Center for Research on Learning). In the last case, rather than typing an e-mail that only Don can see, I type up a blog post that anyone can read and, hopefully, learn something from.
- It helps me frame my thoughts for larger, more important pieces like grant proposals.
Still too busy to blog?
If these reasons have changed your mind, and you’re ready to give blogging a try, great! Here are some ways to get started blogging right now. Would you rather start a little more simply? I suggest starting a tumble blog, or tumblog, instead. Tumblogs are a little more stream of conscious-driven than the longer forms of writing you typically see in blogs. They can also be multimedia–photographs, inspirational quotes, video clips, or random musings are all fair game.
Technically, most blog platforms can be used to create tumblogs, but arguably the two best services are Posterous and Tumblr. If you’ve never blogged before, start with Posterous. Its biggest selling point is you can do everything you need to do to start blogging via e-mail. Attach media to your message for instant online galleries, no web programming required. If you want to customize your blog, use Posterous’ administration backend in your web browser to tweak settings. Scott McCleod’s Mind Dump is a good example of a Posterous-based tumblog for educators.
Tumblr is a little more web-centric, but includes a nice bookmarklet to make it super-simple to post interesting things you find on the web to your Tumblr-hosted blog. Your blog can be ready to go in about five minutes. Check out Things For Teachers to see an education-oriented Tumblr site.
Have you started a blog or tumble blog? Share a link to it in the comments below. Please word things so we can be sure it’s not spam.
Photo: churl han on Flickr
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